I've always generated 1:1 previews for every image I import into lightroom because hard drive space is so cheap these days and I like being able to immediately edit/view an image as soon as I expand it or open it in the develop module, without needing to wait for it to load/render.
Now that Smart Previews are available in Lightroom 5, I am very eager to take advantage of this new feature because it's intended purpose ~ letting me work on my images even when the original source image is on a drive that isn't connected ~ is something I feel has been missing from Lightroom for years. Now I'll be able to keep my Lightroom Catalogs in my Dropbox folder and access them from either my desktop or laptop computer and be able to make edits to the images regardless of whether or not the original image is connected (which they won't be when I edit from my laptop).
My question is.... now that Smart Previews are a reality and I plan to use them, does it make sense anymore for me to always generate 1:1 Previews for images I import into Lightroom? Is this now essentially redundant and unnecessary now that Smart Previews are on the scene? If so, wouldn't it make sense for me to select all images in my catalogs and discard all 1:1 Previews, then immediately begin building Smart Previews in their place?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated... Thanks!
Smart Previews and "ordinary" previews are two separate things, so if you like to zoom into 1:1 in the Library module then carry on rendering 1:1 previews.
There is liitle connection between "ordinary" previews (1:1 or not) and smart previews. Ordinary previews are used almost exclusively in the Library module (where, if a 1:1 preview doesn't exist and you zoom to 1:1, it will be built), whereas smart previews are used almost exclusively in the Develop module. When in Develop, and images are online, their only role is a brief one in the pre-load stage of intial image loading. When images are offline, and the smart preview exists, that is what you would be seeing when in Develop. As the smart previews are limited to a max of 2540 pixels on the long edge, 1:1 zooming in that situation is obviously limited to that max resolution.
Yes, there will be a drive space consideration as of course these are additional previews. However, the smart previews cache will likely be smaller than the "standard" previews cache, maybe a lot smaller if you have a lot of 1:1 previews in the standard cache. On my system currently my smart preview cache is just less than half the size of my standard cache, and I currently have very few 1:1 previews rendered.
In terms of taxing the processor more, they certainly do during the creation phase as Adobe have been very agressive in this area. This is what 1:1 preview rendering looks like on my system:
And this is what happens when building Smart Previews:
In use, however, I can't see why they would be particularly heavy on processor-usage.
I've just re-rendered all my previews for my updated catalog of about 80,000 nefs,jpgs, and tifs. The standard previews (1440/high) took up 60GB, the smart previews another 90GB, and 1:1s for all of them (just finished after 3 days of rendering) added another 490GB. So from 60GB for just standards, to 640GB for all of them!!